Wishin’ and Hopin’

Moses was tending sheep in the wilderness when he stumbled onto holy ground.  God spoke to him from a bush that burned but was not consumed.  God told Moses to take his shoes from his feet and observe instructions given.  Previously, Moses made attempts at serving God but was rebuffed in his efforts.  It could have been seen as passing strange that God would give directions for a momentous task to an older man who had met rejection in prior years.  Yet, this is the way in which God works- always according to His timetable and, sometimes, against human reasoning.  So, it was that the greatest leader of men apart from Jesus Himself staged an unlikely comeback begun seemingly by chance.  It surprised Moses and shook the world. 

Most of us, if we ever reach holy ground, will have to plan to get there.  We won’t just happen on it.  It must be admitted that Moses was employed and not sitting on his blessed assurance when God spoke to him, but, as far as he knew, the days of opportunity were past.  In addition, we recognize that God’s working may be unseen which, while causing discomfort for us, nonetheless, is best in His sight.  None of us really knows what God is doing behind the scenes in what seems to be down time.  The point is that Moses was not sitting around waiting for lightening to strike when God called him, but he was not planning an assault on Egypt, either.  He did not plan to meet God at the burning bush that fateful day.

I would like to think that I am better at planning than the evidence allows.  It must be easier to mentally visualize than to actually plan because I’m good at roughing things out in my mind.  It’s the brass tacks thing that gets me- every time.  I once told a friend that I was inclined to procrastinate.  He replied, “We all are.”  At least, I have plenty of company on the road of good intentions.  There aren’t many positives in putting things off other than the clean day-planner, and we all need to meet the road at some point.  If our formulations are to become factualizations, more is involved than theory.  Specific ideas must take shape, and we must follow them with concrete steps.  Otherwise, a goal is just a wish.

Many people have ethereal plans which are essentially hopes that things will work out on their own.  For some, hoping for the best is no more than wishing on pennies cast into a fountain.  Such is not the biblical definition of hope.  Scripture pictures hope as confident expectation.  There are grounds for belief though all particulars are not known.  Confidence in the seen and trust in the unseen inspire actions which are blessed and used by God to benefit ourselves, others and His plan.  When David was preparing to face Goliath, no one had confidence in his abilities to win the day.  King Saul asked David why he thought he could win the confrontation, and David replied that he had already killed a lion and a bear.

All things are possible through faith, but faith is not idling.  While we recognize that God knows everything, it is, also, not assuming whatever will be will be.  Faith is active and purposeful combining past learning and experiences with openness to God’s future directives.  There is an evidence of unseen things we cannot hold in our hands.  David said Goliath would be like the lion and the bear since he defied the armies of the living God.  Laughing and cursing, the giant strode toward him on the battle plain.  As the armies of Israel and Philistia held their breaths, David began to run.  Approaching Goliath, David fitted a smooth stone into his sling.  And one little stone went into the sling, and the sling went round and round.

James said that faith must be supported by works, or it is dead.  In fact, he said faith which produces no works cannot save.  Actually, he is asking if it’s the right kind of faith.  There is a quasi-faith more akin to wishing and hoping than the biblical prescription of all-encompassing trust.  Faith does not do well alone.  It must be enhanced, or it will evaporate.  Jesus said that those who do not use their talents will lose them.  The perfect balance of trust and toil is a mystery yet to be revealed and unachievable in this life though ascertainable.  We all understand that, in any endeavor, true believers put money where their mouths are.  We do what we can and commit the rest to God.  When the little stone went up in the air, the giant came tumbling down.

Sterl

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